'Tale of the Nine-Tailed' Episode 3: Lee Yeon and Lee Rang's animosity is only foreplay before Imoogi's entry
'Tale of the Nine-Tailed' Episode 3 introduces the main villain as an Imoogi, a water serpent, that was also involved in Ae Eum's death
'Tale of the Nine-tailed' Episode 3 takes us a few hours before Ji-ah (Jo Bo-ah) had been possessed by someone and we see how Lee Yeon (Lee Dong-wook) and Ji-ah had managed to connect the dots between the three men in the boat finding the skull of their friend from the past and how the man ended up in the sea. Turns out four men had gone out to fish and their boat capsized. The four of them managed to get out in time and on a safety boat, but after a few days the people end up going crazy for food and water so they ate one of the friends who was hurt already and that somebody is who the skull belongs too. Now one by one, they're dying despite not being on Taluipa's list. Here's where Lee Rang (Kim Beom) comes in.
Lee Yeon's brother knows about the existence of an Imoogi (Water serpent) in the village that both his half-brother and Ji-ah visit and he uses this opportunity to help the shaman wake the Imoogi up and if possible even remove his brother from Earth. He decides to get vengeance for the dead man's daughter and in return, he asks her for a favor and that is to be introduced to the shaman. This favor involves waking up an immortal spirit that has apparently been waiting for a while to get vengeance and that is something we learn later. The Imoogi and Lee Yeon share a history, one that involves the death of Ae Eum. We aren't sure how the Imoogi is involved, but what is certain is that Lee Yeon believes that he killed the water serpent by his own hands. So he believes that the return of this immortal being is not possible.
What he is not aware of is how this Imoogi has been hidden in the well of the village that he and Ji-ah had recently visited. There is also the matter of Ji-ah's parents visiting the village after Ji-ah's mother had had the same dream, day after day, of the village. The shaman who is about to sacrifice Ji-ah to the monster tells her the details about why her parents visited the village after tying her up. In the meanwhile, Lee Rang helps the shaman by distracting Lee Yeon and continuing to fight with him. At the end, Lee Yeon does manage to save Ji-ah again, however, a bit of her blood was spilled where the immortal spirit rests and that somehow leads to something unimaginable. The entire village is empty of people. The next day, when Ji-ah wakes up to find a ride to the city but she sees no one and she returns to tell Lee Yeon the same. How could an entire village empty itself overnight? We did see how the villagers had crowded near the same well that Ji-ah was about to be sacrificed in.
Were the villagers lured through magic? If not, what really happened to them? We have to wait to find out. In the meanwhile, Lee Yeon has to face the consequences of killing a human, even one who deserved to die for using nefarious methods to attain immortality and Ji-ah will come to learn that she might, after all, be connected to Ae Eum. She may not have the yeowu guseol in her, but she seems to have locked the memories of Ae Eum within her. If not, how else would she know that the one who killed Ae Eum was in fact Lee Yeon? She also told Lee Yeon, that their fate would have ended the day she died if she hadn't stopped the boat. Lee Yeon tries to tell whoever appeared in Ji-ah that the only one who can recognize his lady, Ae Eum, is himself because there is something that he had left with her, to prove her identity when she reincarnated. Could it be that the yeowu guseol is hidden within Ji-ah in a way that even Lee Yeon is unable to sense it?
'Tale of the Nine-Tailed' airs on tvN on Wednesdays and Thursdays at 10.30 pm KST and can be streamed on Viki Global.